GUWAHATI, May 18 - The irrigation department is planning to introduce a hybrid system of irrigation by running pump sets through solar as well as electric power. A unique feature of the project will be that farmers will be able to sell the power generated by solar panels to APDCL when irrigation is not required.
�The farmers now use diesel pump sets to lift ground water to irrigate their fields, a process that involves a considerable input cost. During the Rabi and pre-Kharif cropping season, the demand for water is more, which results in higher cost of production. For cultivation of Boro crop during pre-Kharif season, the cost of diesel per bigha of land is around Rs 2,000,� an irrigation department official said.
The new scheme � to be introduced as a pilot project under the Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY) on cost-sharing basis � proposes to reduce the cost of irrigation from Rs 2,000 per bigha to Rs 25 only for Boro crop if net metering system is introduced.
During day hours, the scheme will run on solar power, while it will run on electricity at night. This will enable the farmers to irrigate more areas, the official said.
The scheme is initially proposed to be implemented in some selected areas of the State on a pilot basis. In each pilot project area, the scheme will be implemented in clusters of tube wells.
�Necessary electricity connection will be provided by APDCL. The APDCL will provide a 63 KVA transformer to give necessary electricity to each point of a cluster,� the official said.
There will be a cluster of 20 tube wells in each scheme covering an area of 40 hectares to eliminate the danger of damage to crops by cattle, as it is seen that one individual farmer does not grow any crop when the entire field is empty.
The tube wells will be connected with electrical and solar pump sets of 2HP capacity, photovoltaic solar module, converters, etc.
�This scheme will give higher output with less investment in comparison to other big project like FIS (flow irrigation scheme), LIS (lift irrigation scheme) and deep tube well,� he said.
The cost of each scheme will be Rs 1,62,645, of which the beneficiary will have to contribute 15 per cent.
Till date, the irrigation department has completed 3,559 categories of schemes. There are 20 major and medium schemes and the remaining ones are minor schemes. Most of these schemes cannot supply water during Rabi season. As a consequence, farmers are reluctant to do double and multiple cropping. Moreover, supply of electricity in the existing deep tube well scheme is erratic.
Out of 27 lakh hectare of irrigable area, the department has created potential of 9.96 lakh hectare so far. All the irrigation schemes are supply based and full potential of the scheme are not utilised by the farmers.
�Though the initial investment by the farmer in the new hybrid system will be high, there will be no significant recurring cost of irrigation for the farmer. This will give a big relief to the farmer and benefit will be more,� the official added.